Riding A Motorcycle Backwards
The Fastest Man on Two Wheels…Backwards
Of all the ways there are to ride a motorcycle, riding backwards might well be the strangest, and I’m impressed. I have a hard time shaving in a mirror, so operating the controls of a bike in reverse must be quite a challenge.
I’m not saying I won’t give it a shot some time when the mood strikes – and someone loans me their bike – but I won’t be doing a quarter-mile in 11.71 seconds hitting the trap at 122 mph.
Stunt rider Bob Duffey did that, and he stands alone at the top of the heap as the fastest man on a dragstrip riding a motorcycle backwards. He set the unique record riding his stock 1979 Kawasaki Z1R-TC during an IDBA sanctioned event.
The veteran 60+-year-old motorcycle stuntman was recently scheduled to be the special attraction at the Gene Romero 2012 West Coast Flat Track Series tour in Las Vegas in the hopes that his appearance there would help him drum up support for his world-record effort.
He rode all the way across the desert on his bike on the way to Vegas, but upon arrival, the show’s promoter’s threw him a curve.
“They suddenly didn’t want me to do it,” Duffey said. “It was very unnerving when they called me in (to an office) and asked me a bunch of questions.”
Why did the show go south? Event organizers said there was an insurance issue and said they wanted to pull the plug on the show.
“They thought I was going to go out there and be an idiot and crash,” Duffey said.
With more than 1,200 performances under his belt, Duffey was pretty confident all would go well. Once the organizers were calmed down and the insurance problem taken care of, Duffey got the green light.
Though the track at the Las Vegas show was only “170 feet from end to end,” Duffey is still hoping his backward-riding skills will generate the interest he needs to put together a show which will feature a new motorcycle speed record while sitting backward on his bike.
“You got to leave them wanting a little more. We got it done in Vegas, and now we see what happens,” he said.